Building The Future of Freelance Software / slashdev.io
The Case for Remote Work/
As the pandemic eases in many parts of the world, companies are pressuring their employees to return to the office. The CEOs of companies like Morgan Stanley and WeWork are urging a return to in-person work. However, many workers are resistant to going back to the office and are willing to quit rather than give up remote work. A recent survey found that 39% of employees would consider leaving their jobs if they were forced to give up flexibility. This number increases to over 49% for millennials and Gen Z workers, who make up more than half of all US workers.
This presents a challenge for companies that are resistant to remote work and an opportunity for those that embrace it. Embracing remote work, prioritizing flexibility and skill over physical presence, will give companies access to a much larger talent pool than before the pandemic.
Proper Remote Work Works
The pandemic showed that innovation and productivity don’t require in-person meetings. However, some companies are still investing in finding ways to force workers back to the office instead of building on the lessons of remote work. In contrast, companies that have adapted to remote work have tailored their work environment to the preferences of their employees, hiring away talent from companies that are resistant to remote work.
Knowing what infrastructure, metrics, and practices to focus on is key to running a remote company successfully. Often, companies that are not used to working remotely do not have these elements set up properly, leading to a poor remote work experience. Remote work requires properly measuring productivity, not just presence. A company that is struggling with remote work likely has a leadership or accountability issue, rather than an issue with remote work itself.
Access to a Global Talent Pool
Remote work allows companies to access the best talent in the world, regardless of location. Hiring the best person for the job, regardless of where they live, leads to better products and services. Defining work as an in-office experience excludes talented people who thrive in different environments and locations. Remote work allows for a true corporate meritocracy, where the best person for the job is hired for every role.
Remote work saves companies money on office-related expenses, and employees save money on commuting expenses. On average, companies save $22,000 per year per remote employee, and workers save up to $4,000 per year. It’s not surprising that the majority of full-time workers want to continue working remotely, even to the point of turning down a $30,000 raise for the privilege.
We Trust Your Employees, so Why Don’t You?
For most companies, the cost savings from remote work should be enough to encourage remote work. However, the lack of trust is at the heart of the resistance to remote work. Companies are concerned about whether employees are working when they can’t see them. Trusting employees and allowing them to chart their own path fosters engagement and leads to the best results. Employees value flexibility, with 56% saying that it is the primary way their company could alleviate pandemic-induced burnout.
Forcing employees back into the office is not the solution to the challenges of the past year. It’s an instinctual response that will have long-term consequences. Workers are reevaluating their personal and professional lives, and they are choosing flexibility and balance over status and money. Twenty-five percent of workers are considering quitting their jobs after the pandemic, and 20% have already quit and changed careers. People are seeking to pursue their passions and are tired of living by someone else’s arbitrary rules.
The article argues that companies that are forcing employees back to the office are missing out on the benefits of remote work and losing out on a larger talent pool. The pandemic has shown that productivity and innovation can be achieved without physical presence, and companies that prioritize flexibility and skills over physical presence will have access to a significantly larger pool of talent. Remote work reduces operating costs for everyone, and a lack of trust is at the heart of the attacks against remote work. The future of work is one without physical presence, where people are valued over presenteeism. Companies that refuse to adapt will lose their best people, and those who embrace remote work will have access to a larger pool of talent.